The Game Changer.

Image: Ashley Campbell via Flickr/Creative Commons

Image: Ashley Campbell via Flickr/Creative Commons

Guys.  This has probably been the single most insane week we have had in our adoption.  And because God has a hilarious sense of humor, He scheduled this series of crazy during the week before VBS – the largest event of the year at our church, which I plan and oversee.  Thank goodness for a church full of talented and understanding people who have been picking up my slack!

It started about exactly a week ago.  We had a gut feeling that the Baby M situation was about to be resolved, and not in our favor.  Thankfully, we were at peace with that.  However, this meant that the last eight months of work and preparation that had been done for that little boy were also about to come to a close.  This meant we had some pretty serious things to consider.  Such as:

  1. What went wrong in the Baby M situation?  Was there something that someone could have done to prevent it?
  2. If so, how can we verify that our contacts in his country have our best interest at heart?  Can we definitely trust them to start this process again, or do we need to reevaluate our partners?
  3. What is next for us?

We had about four days of serious wrestling with #1 and #2.  Though infinitely worth it, adoption can be a big, stressful mess under the best of circumstances.  On top of the emotional aspect of it though, there are a lot of legal issues, privacy issues, financial issues … The point is, if you aren’t working with people who aren’t going to bat for you 100%, you can get into some messy situations.

We knew that most of the Baby M situation was out of anyone’s hands, but we felt strongly about checking into every aspect of it that might have been preventable to put our minds at ease before even thinking about Question #3.  This mostly meant A LOT of phone calls.

Most of this part is just a bunch of boring details and legalese, so we’ll jump to the beginning of this current week:  It all checked out.  It took a lot of work and probably created a few grey hairs, but when you’re placing your hopes and dreams in the hands of someone around the world that you have never met … you do your homework!  We were back to feeling at ease with the people working with us, and ready to open the door to Question #3.

What is next for us?

This was a huge, exciting and intimidating question.  We realized something really quickly – something that we hadn’t even had the chance to think about before.  We chose Baby M’s country because of Baby M.  This is backwards from how most international adoptions begin; most people choose a country first and then a child.  That just wasn’t the path we ended up walking.  We never anticipated we would be back to square one, waiting for another child to come along.

And another deaf child?  We started this process with Baby M and then with his country because we felt led and able to give a home to a deaf child.  But after a little more digging, we found that if we wanted to wait exclusively for a deaf child in this country, we might wait for years.  It just isn’t as common of a need as it is in other countries.  When we are essentially 3/4 of the way done with this adoption – did we really feel comfortable saying no to so many waiting kiddos, just because they aren’t deaf?  Just because it didn’t match OUR plan?

We talked through the options down to three:

  1. Wait.  Wait for a deaf child to be on the list.  Wait potentially for years, and choose to pass on all the kids that ARE waiting there.
  2. Change countries.  In light of the work we have done to prepare for a deaf child, we could feasibly start again in a country where that is more common.
  3. Considering that the months and months and months of paperwork are already finished for this adoption, we could adopt a child who needs a home NOW.  We know we want to adopt again and do still feel very called to a deaf child.  We continue our ASL studies, maybe even finish our classes, and start again down the line in a country with deaf orphans are quite common – this time, with an older brother/sister already a part of the family!

Option #1 didn’t sit right with me.  I just didn’t feel any peace about passing up files and files of precious kiddos who need a home now, just because they didn’t accord with what we thought was “the plan”. Option #2 felt similar.  The thought of abandoning everything we have done so far made me sick to my stomach.  Option #3, though … it was such a big change of plans.

And yet.   I couldn’t shake the thought this whole ordeal was GOD’S plan, not ours.  Sure, in light of how we were feeling led, we made plans that seemed in accordance with God’s plan.  But what if God’s plan was to get us to exactly where we are because there is a child who needs us now?  What if His plan for a future deaf child finding a home in our lives isn’t a “No”, it’s a “Not yet”?  Are we really so full of pride as to bullheadedly try to force our own will into this situation that was God’s idea in the first place?

We decided early on in this adoption process that we were going to do our best to always be listening for God’s voice along the way.  We asked ourselves, “How many people miss out on huge blessings in their life, all because they were too scared to abandon their plans and take on God’s?”  This felt very much like one of those moments.

We did a lot of talking.  Many people wait months and months before they are matched with a child, so we figured we had plenty of time to just sit on this.

That’s when the game changer happened.

 

Yesterday morning, I got a phone call from our agency director.  We hadn’t told her yet about all of these options we were considering, and yet she listed out the same three conclusions we had come to.  One by one, she went down the list and shared how she felt the same way about our options as we were feeling.

“My job is to tell you about all of your options,” she said, “but if you were my sister, I would tell you to do the third option.”

In my heart, I agreed.  But still.  We had lots of time.  Didn’t we?

In her awesome, thick Ukrainian accent, she continued.

“[The attorney] felt so bad about what happened with Baby M.  She feels that things like that are not supposed to happen in her country.  She has been working really hard to find a file similar to his.  We feel like you just had a miscarriage only weeks before giving birth.  You spent 8 months preparing for that baby boy.  We have files for older girls and older boys, but we know you were ready for a baby boy to come home.  But, babies available for adoption in that country are not very common.  We know you were open to older kids in either gender, but we really wanted to do a lot of digging and call a lot of contacts to see what we could do.  We found a baby boy.  He just turned one.  He’s beautiful ….”

It was Wednesday.  We found out that our previous adoption had fallen through on Monday.  Two days ago.  Two. Days.  We thought it would be months, maybe a year.  Was this happening?

“… your paperwork is finished.  Everything is ready.  Because of your last situation, [the attorney] went to extra lengths to make sure there is no one with any prior claim to him, no family ties that haven’t been severed.  She doesn’t want you to face the same hurt and disappointment again …”

I wasn’t sure I was hearing her correctly.  Maybe the accent?  What was she saying?

“… he is ready now.  He needs a home and a family now.  Because all of your paperwork has already been filed, we can begin immediately …”

She is saying there is a baby boy who needs a family right now.  The nursery doesn’t have to be repainted.  The babyish, boyish wall decals don’t have to be thrown out.  The crib doesn’t have to be disassembled.  The toys and books and games don’t have to go into storage.  The registry doesn’t have to be deleted.

“… just sent you his pictures.  If you say no, I think I’ll have to talk my husband into adopting him ourselves …”

With a few clicks, a face lit up the screen in front of me.  A blonde, blue-eyed baby boy is sitting on what looks like a yoga mat in the middle of a bright, grassy yard.  His eyes are wide in wonder, his mouth is hanging open.  He is holding a live toad in his hands and is probably squealing in delight.

Click.

The toad is now on the mat a few feet in front of him, just out of reach.  The boy is staring at it intently, ignoring the pacifier on the ground next to him in favor of trying to figure out how to get his hands back on that toad.

Click.

The boy is now laying on his stomach on a pretty porch – his foster home.  The shot is from the side.  He is laughing so hard, his eyes are squeezed closed and his tiny tongue is poking out of his wide smile.  He is propped up on his elbows, and is holding a rattling ring toy.  He’s laughing at a large tabby cat lounging just inches from his face.

“… I don’t want to push anything on you guys, especially if you aren’t ready.  But, if you are, I think you would be perfect for him, and he would be perfect for you …”

 

In no time, I was talking to Alex and sending him the boy’s pictures.  I told our agency director that I was thrilled with the opportunity, and so thankful for how much trouble they had gone to, but that I wasn’t sure what Alex would say.  Again, we thought we wouldn’t be faced with this kind of question for many months.  I felt ready and a great sense of peace.  Would Alex?  I said a prayer and decided that this would be the test.

“Will this adoption include the toad?”  This was the first thing he said, in true Alex fashion.

“Uh … a one-year-old holding a toad?  I’m not sure it survived the ordeal.”

“Well, either way.  I say yes!”

 

WE SAY YES.  That was the response I sent to our agency director.  To God.  We say yes.

 

Eight weeks ago, I thought our adoption process was close to concluding.  Now, I see that our journey is just beginning.

“I would have despaired had I not expected to see the glory of the Lord.”  -Psalm 27:13

 

Welcome to our world, Baby W.

 

 

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  • Damaris

    Wow! My exact word after reading your blog. Isn’t God amazing !? I’m so so glad God is working on your behalf and Baby W. He will have wonderful parents.

  • Jerrica

    Chills (the good kind). Goosebumps. Tears. I just went through a rollercoaster of emotions reading that- I am so happy for you and in absolute awe of God.

  • Just a guy.

    You do not know me from a ham sandwich, but I stumbled across this blog. I absolutely LOVE your story and all the honesty that went into telling it. I am not a religious man, but my positive thoughts will be with you while you follow this path. Lil Baby W is one lucky kid.

  • Andrea

    LOVE YOU TWO!!! PRAISE THE LORD FOR HIS FAITHFULNESS!!

  • Auntie Asha

    Oh my oh MY!!!! I am crying and crying with joy at how our God works and hears and answers prayers and always ALWAYS has an “even better”!!!!! You have simply astounded me with your unceasing trust in God’s goodness and his sovereignty, and He is so glorified! I love you both and I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET BABY W!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Robin Little

    God is good!!!

  • Tricia

    I love the understanding of this woman..” We feel like you just had a miscarriage only weeks before giving birth. You spent 8 months preparing for that baby boy.”
    I am so happy for both of you. (Tricia)

  • Brenda

    What wonderful news! I knew it had to be great after seeing your excited faces in the donut picture! Keep holding tight to God as you travel through this journey!

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